Eichmann – piano,
with Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson – hearing aid, electronics, vocals; Chris
Heenan – alto saxophone, contrabass clarinet; Michael Griener – drums,
percussion; Alexander Frangenheim and Christian Weber – double basses
recorded at Vivaldisaal, Berlin, 6-9 July, 2005
Leo Records 2007
total duration: 63:05
retail price: € 13,90
from the booklet:
Sound and its ‘inner’ structures are rarely to
be found more enjoyable and effective than in the context of improvised
music. Especially when you consider quizzical elements and flexibility.
Speaking of effectiveness: despite the fact, that the instruments
here, with one exception, are all traditional ones, meaning neither
amplified nor manipulated in an electronic environment, the possibilities
of creating new sounds are amazing.
The greatest surprise for
me is the inventive idea of the hearing-aid as used by Gunnar
Brandt-Sigurdsson. Theoretically, the idea sounds simple, but
the instrument hides a highly flexible voice. The seemingly endless
and fluid ambitus does a lot to open the musical space. The hearing-aid
is a perfect counterpart to the reeds and the piano. The mobility
of this unpredictable instrument is astonishing.
Virtuosity and utmost self-control, playfulness
and a lot of openness, resourcefulness and joy, to be unafraid
of long silences or orgiastic euphoria - these are the qualities
you can hear every musician has available on this recording.
In these performances,
fixed-pitch sounds capture the melancholy and the loneliness
of someone who is lost, not in a void, but in the overwhelming
wonderland of an unexplored jungle.
image that sprang to mind, was that I might be listening to a
montage with well-placed cuts, created by a movie director. Or
that I was listening to a play with various scenes performed
by the same few actors, all playing different kinds of roles,
in different costumes and settings.
You may appreciate the movie
as a whole, but don’t forget
to sample some of the scenes separately, I am sure you will not
tire of discovering many fine details.
And read my lips: if this
music doesn’t speak to you,
then there is definitely something wrong with you!
music jumps out at you! Where others fail miserably, this
lot injects uncanny elements of soul and heartening concepts
into the grand scheme of avant-garde type matters.
Hot Days' sees Eichmann’s fast, detonating cluster
work further fractured by a variety of instrumental set-ups
that range from hypnotically aggressive duets with Gunnar-Brandt-Sigurdsson,
who plays a hearing aid and electronics, through to elongated
quintet jams that cross periods of droning silence with doomy
twin bass, contrabass clarinet and drums. The results are suitably
Keenan, The Wire
Hot Days' possesses the qualities of a live album while maintaining
the essence of rare, pretty hard to delimit self-generated
Ricci, Touching Extremes
ohne Scheu vor dem Paradoxen und Komplexen, unternimmt sogar
explizit ‚tests of ethics’, mit musikalischen
Mitteln und politischem Beigeschmack. Worüber er sich
Gedanken macht, zeigen Titel wie ‚sweets from above’, ‚low
income seniors’, ‚fingerprint on new security trend’, ‚five
star tragedy’, Titel, die manchmal erst auf den zweiten
Blick ihre Stoßrichtung offenbaren. Eichmann beginnt
und endet in Duetten mit Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson, der mit
Electronics & Hörgerät (?) jämmerlich jaulen
kann. Zwischendurch wechselt er vom Piano zum Cembalo und mit
dem Drummer & Perkussionisten Michael Griener zu einem
weiteren Duopartner, der seinen gehämmerten Stakkati oder
Innenklavierpizzikati mit aufrauschendem Getrommel begegnet.
Chris Heenan an Altosax & Kontrabassklarinette stößt
hinzu und für die 8 Min. von ‚the worm from the
void’ erweitern die beiden Kontrabassisten Alexander
Frangenheim und Christian Weber Eichmanns flexibles Ensemble
sogar zum Quintett. So auf subtile Weise spitz und kritisch
wie seine Ethik, so diskant und ruppig, schnarrend, spotzend
und rappelig ist die zugehörige Ästhetik. Der Kapitalismus
scheißt und die New Security-Sheriffs bewachen vielleicht
die größeren Haufen. Aber man muss kein ‚public
servant’ und low income senior in spe (wie ich) sein,
um zu kapieren, dass Süßigkeiten schon lange nicht
mehr vom Himmel fallen.
Dittmann, Bad Alchemy
is another unexpected gem!
Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery NYC
il merito di Eichmann è quello di non
appiattirsi sui modelli consolidati e, con buona dose di coraggio,
cerca nuove strade. Certamente singolare è il suo uso
del clavicembalo in un contesto radicale dove convivono sperimentazione,
minimalismi cameristici e brandelli umoristici. Vivamente consigliato
agli amanti della libera improvvisazione.
Leonardi, Allaboutjazz Italia
composer and improvising pianist Dietrich Eichmann has been
involved in creating an array of notated and instantly created
sounds during his two-decade long creative career. But it’s
likely that this session is the first he – or perhaps
any one else – has organized where
one of the main musical voices is a hearing aid.
Luckily, Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson who “plays”– if
the proper term – the device, overcomes the novelty factor and manages
to convert it into a flexible improvising voice. In this slice of 21st Century
improv, harsh oscillated timbres fashioned from the ear-addition are and just
as crucial for this music as the alternating undulating blasts and delicate
breaths of American Chris Heenan’s alto saxophone and contrabass clarinet
also heard here.
Basically the more-than-63-minute CD is divided between the tracks featuring
the contributions of Brandt-Sigurdsson, and those without his unique sound
source. “Worm from the Void” is the most instrumentally conventional,
with Heenan and Eichmann joined by inventive local percussionist Michael Griener
and the two basses of Christian Weber and Alexander Frangenheim, for their
only appearance on the session. Two other tracks are stripped-down duets between
the drummer and pianist. Griener’s resonating cymbals and bulls eye-positioned
press rolls are also featured on the three-part Test of Ethics suite with Eichmann
on harpsichord, Heenan on alto saxophone plus Brandt-Sigurdsson’s hearing
How Brandt-Sigurdsson, who in his other life is a tenor vocalist specializing
in New Music, became an aural instrument practitioner is an unanswered question.
But during the suite and elsewhere, the device’s spectral timbres are
meticulously utilized so that its output melds with that of Heenan’s
alto saxophone. Whistling and buzzing like an exposed telephone wire, the hearing
aid’s shrilling loops also make common cause with Griener’s cymbal
undulation and Eichmann’s connective pianism.
Instructively, Heenan’s and Brandt-Sigurdsson’s interaction is
given an extended showcase on the almost 18 minute “Five Star Strategy” with
only Eichmann as referee. Here the pianist fans the piano keys as if he was
shuffling playing cards, pitter patters note clusters, and bows his instrument’s
internal strings. Eventually low-frequency chordal patterns are his backing
contribution as both “horns” twitter and belch nearly interchangeable
textures, finally accelerating to jagged, fortissimo growls. Since only a reed
can be tongue-slapped, it’s finally identifiable. Yet that happens just
before the piece climaxes with undulating rasps that encompass not only Brandt-Sigurdsson’s
strident cries and Heenan’s bubbling breaths, but also Eichmann’s
nasal toned bombarde.
Less unique, but ultimately more satisfying – at least sonically – are
the pianist’s dialogues with Griener. On their own the communication
is as pronounced as that between Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink or Irène
Schweizer and Pierre Favre. Innovatively comfortable is probably the best description,
as uncoiling syncopation meets snap, slaps and ruffs in one case, while bass-pedal
expanded upward runs complement drum top and side maneuvering in the other.
Note the potency of their duets when it turns out that bringing the two bassists
and Heenan, on contrabass clarinet, into the mix doesn’t add that many
sonic timbres on “The Worm in the Void”. In fact, the track is
strikingly hushed for one involving the largest number of musicians. Throughout
there’s merely the faint stirrings of metronomic piano chords, while
the jumbo reed ululates colored air and the bassists are limited to sul tasto
rubs. Thumping paradiddles and flams are the loudest sound. Yet by the finale
all five players have molded dragging discord into unison drones, with a conclusive
diminuendo fading into spacious silence.
The Hot Days is worth scrutinizing equally for Eichmann’s talents as
a composer and player; for Brandt-Sigurdsson’s manipulation of a hitherto
unexposed improvising tool; and for Griener’s and Heenan’s sympathetic
and connective constructions.